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Hangzhou’s West Lake

[ 5 ] September 7, 2010 |

Hangzhou West Lake

Hangzhou is one of my favourite cities in China and one that I can’t help but be drawn back to time after time.  What sets Hangzhou apart from many of China’s other big cities is it’s sheer, clean, natural beauty. In the 13th century Marco Polo described Hangzhou as “the City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world.”  This beauty radiates from Hangzhou’s greatest and most beautiful asset, the stunning West Lake (Xihu).  It is this that draws thousands of tourists from the big city clutches of Shanghai to Hangzhou every weekend.  It is the call of the wind through the trees of the foothills, the beautiful reflections that dance upon the lakes emerald waters and the beautifully manicured gardens that are what make people, me included fall in love with this city.

West Lake Boats Hangzhou

West Lake is dotted with hundreds of tourist boats.  Hoards of people line up for cruises and self-drive motor boats while the rest bargain with the drivers of the more traditional West Lake boats.   Although most now equipped with motors, these boats are some of the most traditional you will still find on the lake.  And sticking to a modern Chinese tradition, the drivers will try their best to rip you off!

Dragon Boat West Lake Hangzhou

West Lake Cruise Hangzhou

The mighty Dragon Cruise Boat stands commanding over all the other small wooden boats that plague the lake.  If it wasn’t so touristy it would almost be mystical, take away the scaffolding and the tourist masses and you can almost imagine a glimmering golden dragon elegantly laying in wait on the surface of the lake.

Inner West Lake Hangzhou

The Inner West Lake bordering the foothills to the south is the most peaceful and relaxing area of the lake.  Lacking the hoards of tourist that plague the shores and waters of the main lake, the inner west lake is a great place to just stroll.  It is the view of the foothills in the background, the blossoming cherry trees in the spring, the well manicured gardens and the lack of tourists that draws photographers to the shores of the Inner West Lake. On weekends your treated to mass wedding and fashion photo shoots.

Inner West Lake Hangzhou

Inner West Lake Hangzhou

All throughout the day you can see people sitting quietly reading, chatting or playing traditional musical instruments in the several pavilions that appear to elegantly float on the surface of the emerald waters of the Inner West Lake.

Red Carp Pond Hangzhou

Red Carp Pond Hangzhou

The Red Carp Pond in Flower Harbor Park (Huagang Guanyu) is a famous attraction with history dating back to the Song Dynasty.  The pond was a popular scenic spot among emperors, artists and poets of the era and is depicted in many poems, calligraphy and other art works.

Taiziwan Park Church Cafe Hangzhou

Taiziwan Park Windmill Hangzhou

Taiziwan Park on the southside of the lake is a little piece of Europe in China complete with a tiny white church style café and trademark windmill.  Although a little bit tacky, (something the Chinese love) it’s a beautiful spot to enjoy Hangzhou’s sunny days.

Taiziwan Park Tulips Hangzhou

In spring the park comes alive with a vibrant display of colour from thousands of tulips and other blooming flowers off sett by the rich green of the grass and bright blue skies.

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Category: China

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include http://ourtravellifestyle.com, http://vagabondfamily.org, http://nunomad.com and now http://on-our-way-travel.com. View author profile.

Comments (5)

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  1. Nick Laborde
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great pics, that dragon boat is insane. That windmill is an interesting contrast to the traditional architecture.
    .-= Nick Laborde´s last blog ..Getting Lost In Savannah- GA =-.

  2. Andi
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gosh, it is SO picturesque!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Brasil- Day 4 Part 1 =-.

  3. Sasha says:

    @Nick It was certainly an interesting contrast seeing that windmill. I saw it first going past on the bus and had to double take, was this still China!?

    @Andi Yes it’s just gorgeous, you will have to try and get there next time your in China! :)

  4. Mark says:

    I’m also a big fan of Hangzhou (especially the area west of the West Lake).

    On a good day, the view from the top of the pagoda is breathtaking.

    I remember talking to a local about it, and they claimed a lot of the lake area was artificially constructed (not just the walkways, I assume!). I’m not sure to what extent they meant, but essentially they were implying it was largely fake.

    Have you heard anything about that?

  5. Sasha says:

    No I haven’t heard the fake thing, I’m sure part of the smaller inlets have been constructed to an extent to make it more harmonious. But one things for sure the lake itself was not constructed, it’s part of Chinese legend the most famous being the story of the white snake also Marco Polo stumbled upon it on his trip to China.

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